High-Resolution Carbon Monitoring and Modeling


Ralph Dubayah

Ralph Dubayah: Principle Investigator (CMS-Profile)
Co-Investigator – TriState - Hurtt-03
Project Lead – Maryland - Dubayah-03
Project Lead - Sonoma - Dubayah-04

Ralph Dubayah is a Professor in the Geography Department at the University of Maryland College Park, and a Fellow at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. His main areas of research are landcover characterization and the land surface energy and water balances. He leads a NASA EOS Interdisciplinary Science Investigation (IDS) on the use of remote sensing for macroscale hydrological modeling. Most recently he is the principal investigator for the Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL), the first NASA Earth System Pathfinder (ESSP) mission, which will measure the three-dimensional structure of the Earth’s topography and forests. He serves in various U.S. national organizations, including the Remote Sensing Committee of the American Geophysical Union (chair).

George Hurtt

George Hurtt: Principle Investigator (CMS-Profile)
Project Lead – TriState - Hurtt-03
Co-Investigator - Sonoma - Dubayah-04

Dr. Hurtt is interested in the theory and application of community and ecosystem ecology. His primary approach is to combine mathematics and data to develop models for understanding and predicting the structure and dynamics of ecological systems. He has published on a wide range of topics including: the role of dispersal in the dynamics and structure of plant communities, latitudinal and elevational gradients in biodiversity, and ocean and terrestrial ecosystem models for use in studies of the global carbon cycle and global climate change. Current research is focused on the development and application of mathematical models to address issues such as: the sustainability of land-use practices, the effects of disturbances on ecosystem structure and function, and interactions between the biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.

Katelyn Dolan

Katelyn Dolan: Co-investigator, Post-Doctoral Associate
Projects involved with: TriState

Katelyn Dolan is currently a post-doctoral researcher working on a NASA Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) high resolution forest carbon mapping and monitoring project in the Mid-Atlantic US, integrating lidar, imagery, field data and modeling. She completed her PhD from the University of Maryland Geographical Sciences Department in Dec 2015, which was in part supported by a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship and the Joint Global Carbon Cycle Center. Her PhD research was focused on assessing the spatial and temporal dynamics of forest disturbance across the US using Landsat time series disturbance data and an advanced mechanistic ecosystem model. As a Natural Resources Masters student at the University of New Hampshire she explored the capabilities of using space born lidar in forest and carbon monitoring by examining the use of ICESat's Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) to assess forest disturbance caused by Hurricane Katrina."

Wenli Huang

Wenli Huang: Co-investigator, Post-Doctoral Associate
Projects involved with: TriState, Maryland, Sonoma

Wenli is a Post-doctorate researcher within the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned her PhD in 2015. She also received her B.Sc. in computer cartography from Wuhan University in 2006 and her M.Sc. in remote sensing and geographical information system from the Beijing Normal University in 2009. Wenli is a researcher with strong skills and knowledge within the field of GIS as well as remote sensing. She have been working in the GEL Lab conducting research for Phase I to III study of NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) projects. Her current research focuses on application of remote sensing for environmental sciences in the following fields: 1) Land cover and land use classification using Multi-spectral and SAR remote sensing. 2) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) remote sensing of forest through backscatter and scattering mechanism analysis. 3) Lidar remote sensing for the purpose of obtaining forest vertical structural parameters.

Steve Flanagan

Steve Flanagan: Co-investigator, Post-Doctoral Associate
Projects involved with: TriState

Steve Flanagan is currently a post-doctoral researcher working on a NASA Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) high resolution forest carbon mapping and monitoring project. He obtained a M.S. in physics from the University of New Hampshire in 2010 and a PhD in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland in 2016. His thesis developed a method to simulate the spatially specific process of migration in a pseudo-spatial framework that allowed for continental scale simulations of plant migrations potential impact on vegetation and carbon redistribution from climate change. He maintains and implements the ecosystem model used in the CMS project, and also provides model support for charcoal extraction and carbon flux projects.

Anuradha Swatantran

Anu Swatantran: Co-investigator, Research Assistant Professor
Projects involved with: Maryland, Sonoma

Anu Swatantran holds a PhD in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland. She is enthusiastic about harnessing innovative remote sensing technologies and data-driven approaches to tackle challenging problems in earth science. Her research has focused on 3D forest structure mapping, habitat characterization, and carbon monitoring using Lidar, SAR, and hyperspectral data fusion. She led several aspects of the Maryland CMS study and implemented a cloud-based interface for carbon monitoring and reporting in Sonoma County, CA. She has served as a Co-Investigator and science team member in NASA Carbon Monitoring System and GEDI projects and Co-PI on an NSF-ADVANCE grant. She is a NASA Earth System Science Fellow.

Stuart Sheppard

Stu Sheppard: Senior Faculty Specialist, GIS Specialist and Web Administrator

Stu has a degree in Geography from George Mason University. While at GMU he started an intership at The Nature Conservancy where he spent 17 years as a GIS Speciailst and Conservation Data Node Program Manager. His focus has been on GIS Program development and Conservation Planning in developing countries. He joined the Global Ecology Lab in 2016 to manage the UMD CMS/Ecometrica web mapping application.

Other Collaborators

Jarlath O'Neil Dunne, University of Vermont: Spatial Analysis Lab
Richard Birdsey, USDA Forest Service
Kristopher Johnson, USDA Forest Service
Andrew Finley, Michigan State University
Phil DeCola, Sigma Space
Venessa Escobar, NASA GSFC/SSAI

Edil Sepulveda Carlo

Edil Sepulveda Carlo: NASA GSFC/SSAI
Edil is currently a staff research scientist and CMS applications project team member at NASA GSFC. He has been working in the environmental and climate science policy sector for over 5 years. He engages earth scientists with end users of carbon data. He has a multidisciplinary background in earth sciences, policy, and environmental law. He holds a B.S. in Geology from University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, a Juris Doctor from University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and a Master’s degree in Climate & Society from Columbia University.

Christine Kang

Christine Kang: Faculty Research Assistant
Christine earned a master's degree in Applied Sociology from University of Maryland: Baltimore County. Shortly after graduating, she joined the Global Ecology Lab to help everybody with the logistic management. One of her main responsibilities is to create a stress-free environment.

Laura Duncanson

Laura Duncanson
Projects involved with: Maryland,Sonoma

Laura received her Bachelor of Science Honours degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where she worked as an undergraduate in a LiDAR remote sensing lab. She moved from discrete return LiDAR to waveform LiDAR (GLAS data) for her MSc at the University of Victoria. Her MSc thesis focused on using GLAS to model canopy height and biomass in high relief areas. Currently, Laura's research focuses on understanding forest structure and how it relates to forest dynamics, in particular biomass stock and flux. She is attempting to link waveform LiDAR to forest age and productivity, and is interested in exploring allometric scaling theories with remote sensing datasets.

Maosheng Zhao

Maosheng Zhao: Scientific Programmer/Analysts
Projects involved with: TriState, Maryland, Sonoma

Dr. Zhao obtained his PhD in Climatology at Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is interested in using satellite observations and ecosystem models to quantify carbon, water, and energy fluxes between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere and their dynamics and changes in response to natural and human-induced climate change and disturbances. He is working on ED modeling in context of NASA-CMS and NASA-TE projects.

Past Contributors

Anika Cartas

Anika Silvina Cartas
Anika received a B.S. in Computer Science in 2011 from the University of Maryland. She is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Geography at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her recent work include the development and administration of this website and the on-line map services. For inquiries or technical issues with this website or the map services, please contact her!

Chengquan Huang

Chengquan Huang: Co-Investigator
Chengquan Huang has devoted a decade in studies of land cover and vegetation dynamics using remotely sensed data. He has been engaged in several projects that were national to continental in scale, including the USGS Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) 2001 project, the joint USGS-US Forest Service LANDFIRE project, the NASA LEDAPS project, and the NASA North American Forest Dynamics project. Currently he is leading efforts to quantify forest change at national to global scales using Landsat data, and is developing approaches for mapping forest structure and biomass change by integrating field inventory data, airborne or space borne lidar, and Landsat derived forest disturbance history.

Rachel Marks

Rachel Marks
Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland in 2009, with a focus in Wildlife Ecology and Management. She subsequently obtained a Master's certificate in GIS and Remote sensing from the University of Maryland Department of Geographical Sciences in 2011. From 2009 to 2011 she worked at NASA Goddard, with a research focus in ecological modeling and wildlife habitat analysis. She is now pursuing a PhD in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland. Her research is focused on analysis of the spatial relationships which exist between carbon and biodiversity, with the goal of tailoring the geographic allocation of forest conservation efforts to best maximize carbon and biodiversity co-benefits.

Hao Tang

Hao Tang
Hao is a GEDI postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geographical Sciences at University of Maryland College Park, where he also received his PhD degree in 2015. Before joining UMD Hao completed his BS in GIS from Nanjing University (China). His primary interests focus on characterizing 3D dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems using different lidar remote sensing platforms. He is also a NASA Earth and Space Science fellow (NESSF) from 2012 ~2015.

Amanda Whitehurst

Amanda Whitehurst
Amanda Whitehurst received a PhD in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland in 2014. Her thesis work was titled, "Assessing the relationships between vertical structure, biodiversity, and succession in a forest ecosystem using lidar remote sensing." Her research interests include Her additional areas of research interest include the application of remote sensing technology for conservation and ecosystem management, monitoring forest ecosystem dynamics, and species habitat modelling.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Ilan Segal, Nicholas Romano

Field Research Assistants

An important part of our research is field data collection for calibration and validation. Conducting research at a University affords the opportunity to get students involved in research, provide training on GPS and GIS technology as well as field ID and measurement protocols. All field crews must participate in a 2-3 day intensive training before going out in the field and are paired with more experienced field members to insure data accuracy.

2016 – State of Delaware

Field Coordinators: Katelyn Dolan & Rachel Moore
Students: Kevin Friant, Griffen Rickle (Field leads) Theodore Thormann, Joshua Gonzalez, Carla Waller, Becca Levine, Isaac Zhodzishsky

2015 – Northern Mixed Forest, Pennsylvania

Field Coordinators: Katelyn Dolan & Rachel Moore
Students: Joe Duckworth & John Pellegrino (Field leads) Umar Ahmad, Alex Drieseen, Kevin Friant, Griffen Rickle, Chris Woodring, Eric Woolery

2011-2014 – Three Physiographic Regions Across Maryland: Coastal Plains, Piedmont and Appalachian

Undergraduate Assistants: Drew Dogherty, Jeffery Ford, Arnell Limberry, Rebecca Robinson, Nicholas Romano, Ilan Segal, Kelci Schexnayder, Tyler Schlacter, David Zachary Swerdloff, Claire Weber
Graduate Assistants: Ashley Enrici, Amanda Hoffman Hall, Michael Strong, Qiongyu Huang, Wenli Huang, Rachel Marks, Hao Tang, Dongliang Wang, Amanda Whitehurst